I need to be able to control my project

For just over 3 weeks I have been trying to sort out a real mess with my Broadband supplier BT. This has cost me lost time, lots and lots of emotional stress and strain and guess what, we are into week 3 and the problem has only just been sorted out.

I mentioned my frustrations to a group of people who attended one of our project workshops . I mentioned that I felt out of control as I could not seem to resolve the problem. The discussion developed and it was interesting when I asked how many of the group felt they were in control in all of their projects. Few said yes.

I have often felt that some course participants who come along to our project management workshops need more control and I have expressed this to different groups. This lack of control in projects is manifested in many different ways:

• having poor briefings about their projects from their sponsors – often not having the background to understand why they are doing the project including some of the ‘political’ background.

• project resources being pulled from the project despite the resource being involved in the allocation of time and the responsibility

• poor guidance on project priorities – project managers often report that priorities are unclear or seem to change very quickly leaving the project manager to dance a different tune

• poor internal processes ranging from extended decision making to poor or no project management methodologies

• poor project accountabilities leaving the project manager unsure as to who can and cannot make a decision

I know many of you reading this article will suggest that project managers need to be resilient, develop strategies to regain control etc. There are however many project managers who are struggling to regain control of their projects. Our project management training helps but does not give them back the control they need to deliver.

Always remember, you cannot hold a person responsible for what they do not control!

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2 Responses to I need to be able to control my project

  1. David Green says:

    In a way control and its limits come down to the project charter (may be it needs to be updated) and the project sponsor’s support of their charter. Sponsor in my organisation is a senior executive responsible to deliver the project, provide funds and allocate staff, endorse the charter and provide the PM’s authority to execute. If the sponsor is not supporting, they should be asked to change the charter so all know what is expected. If they won’t do this, they are not serious about projects, and not serious about investing in their business.

  2. Ron says:

    Thanks David. A lot of good sense here. Just to add one other comment; if a sponsor is not supporting the project as you say they are not serious about the project AND it is a risk to the project. I have advised some project managers to add this to the risk log – discussing it with the sponsor first! The project manager needs to raise their head above the parapet and face up to this important issue.

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